ACTNews, WEST BANK – On Sunday (10/24/2021), Israel announced it is planning to construct more than 1,300 homes in the occupied West Bank, adding to thousands already pledged in August. "Tenders for 1,355 homes in Judea and Samaria have been published," a construction ministry statement said, referencing the biblical names used widely in Israel for the West Bank.
Over 3,000 settlement homes will be advanced this week in occupied Palestinian territories. This condition forces Palestinians living in the area to find a place to live in other areas.
The West Bank-based Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the new settlement plans could have a "catastrophic impact on chances to make peace based on the two-state solution and on regional, U.S, and international efforts to build confidence between the Israeli and Palestinian sides".
In many cases, settlers attack and destroy facilities belonging to Palestinians in the West Bank. This policy of building more shelters has the potential to increase the intensity of the settlers' attacks on Palestinians. Human rights group Peace Now said in a statement, “The [Israeli] government is acting like an annexation government, not as a change government.”
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, expressed deep concern over the Israeli settlement expansion announcement.
"I am deeply concerned by continued Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. I reiterate that all settlements are illegal under international law, remain a substantial obstacle to peace, and must cease immediately," he said.
About 475,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank, which are illegal under international law, on land Palestinians claim as part of their future state. Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 war and exercises administrative control across much of the territory, where more than two million Palestinians live.